This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: es
carrying on the most elaborate technique, going through the most complicated procedures and apparently
possessed of the surest knowledge without the possibility of teaching. The flight of birds, the obstetric and
nursing procedures of all animals, and especially the complicated and systematized labors of bees, ants and
other insects, have aroused the wonder, admiration and awe of scientists. A chick pecks its way out of its egg
and shakes itself,--then immediately starts on the trail of food and usually needs no instruction as to diet. The
female insect lays its eggs, the male insect fertilizes them, the progeny go through the states of evolution
leading to adult life without teaching and without the possibility of previous experience. Since the parent
never sees the progeny, and the progeny assume various shapes and have very varied capacities at these times,
there can be no possible teaching of what is remarkably skillful and marvelously adapted conduct.
 The nature of instinct has been a subject of discussion for centuries, but it is only within the last fifty years
or thereabouts that instinctive actions have really been studied. I refer the reader to the works of Darwin,
Romanes, Lloyd Morgan, the Peckhams, Fabre, Hobhouse, and McDougall for details as to the controversies
and the facts obtained.
Herbert Spencer considered the instinct as a series of inevitable reflexes. The carrion fly, when gravid,
deposits her eggs in putrid meat in order that the larvae may have appropriate food, although she never sees
the larvae or cannot know through experience their needs. "The smell of putrid meat attracts the gravid carrion
fly. That is, it sets up motions of the wings which bring the fly to it, and the fly having arrived, the smell, and
the contact combined stimulate the functions of oviposition." But as all the critics have pointed out, the
theory of compound reflex action leaves out of account that there are any number of stimuli pouring in on the
carrion fly at the same time that the meat attracts her. The real mystery lies in that internal condition which
makes the smell of the meat act so inevitably.
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11